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Raidén, A; Räisänen, C (2014)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Our research paper investigates how men voice their experiences of the three dimensions of well-being: happiness, health and relationships (after Van de Voorde et al., 2012) in balancing their work and non-work lives. We discuss how their perceptions and practice relate to human resource management (HRM) in the workplace, and identify the key tensions in managing their engagement and well-being. This paper builds on research published in Construction Management and Economics in August 2013 (Vol. 31, No. 8: Raiden and Räisänen, pp. 899-913) where we critique the work-life balance literature for largely limiting the construct as being a female-oriented entitlement. Consequently, little attention has been paid to how men experience their work-life situations, especially the men who are keen to share the family care. We contribute to filling this gap by critically examining how male academics in construction-related departments at Universities in Sweden and the UK construct their relationships with family and work. The data consisted of the career-life stories of seven male academics from each country. These were at different phases in their career trajectories and held different university positions. A narrative analysis approach was then applied on the data. Three core narratives emerged: family connected with partner; work as key priority; and desire to pursue personal projects, which competed with each other for the narrators’ sparse time. A salient feature of all the narratives was the men’s struggle to accommodate family and (personal) life with work, which to them was the prioritised sphere. This struggle left many feeling that they had no time to do a good job in any sphere, and in Sweden in particular the combination pressure was intense. In this study, well-being emerged as a critical albeit difficult to articulate feature since it was embedded in all the three elements of the work-family-life triad, often with conflicting outcomes. The purpose here, therefore, is to revisit the data using a well-being lens.
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